ALL fans of Chris Gayle must be cringing at his hostility towards Ramnaresh Sarwan and the Jamaica Tallawahs, his franchise team in the Caribbean Premier League. Gayle exploded last week Monday in a three-part video on You Tube, castigating the former West Indies captain, accusing him of being vindictive and referring to him as a snake.
Although Gayle has always been open and straightforward, this time his bitterness came through loud and clear. This animosity came about as Gayle was left out of the Tallawahs squad for the 2020 season. Due to the worldwide health crisis, it is not certain whether there will be a CPL tournament this year, but the different franchises are still putting things in place in order not to be caught off-guard if it does come off.
The Jamaican is resentful of the fact that the selectors or management of any team would want to let him go. He cannot imagine, after his wonderful exploits in the past, that anyone would have the audacity to leave him out of their cricket team.
He has contributed massively to the West Indies in the past as an attacking opening batsman that sometimes panicked bowlers who had the bad luck to bowl to him when he was on the go. He is a most exciting and entertaining player that spectators love to watch perform.
Unfortunately, his head grew with his fame and as far as he is concerned only he could decide when Chris Gayle retires. Before the Cricket World Cup of 2019, Gayle had announced that he would be "hanging up his boots" after the tournament. However, at the end of it, he changed his mind and said he was available for the upcoming series against Afghanistan. This prompted Michael Holding to ask sarcastically whether Gayle was a selector, “that he alone decides when he will stop playing.” He was not chosen.
The superstar from Jamaica is in demand for T20 cricket but not as much as before. Although the way he attacks the bowling, bludgeoning the hapless bowlers over the boundaries and beyond, is still attractive to many, he is not quite as consistently lethal as he used to be. And his fielding is pathetic. He will be 41 in September so he’s not getting any younger and he ought to realise the shortcomings that age brings with it.
It was noticeable last year during the CPL competition how little Gayle had added to the fate of the bottom-placed Tallawahs. Throughout the contest, he seemed disinterested, bored and quite fed-up with the cricket. There is no doubt in my mind why the Tallawahs would have dumped him. Gayle has been a huge success, especially in T20 cricket, having scored six centuries in the Indian Premier League with the highest being 175 not out in 2013 and he started referring to himself then as the "Universe Boss."
His injuries started taking its toll and his reflexes slowed, his performances declined, reaching such a depth that he was dropped from his IPL team in 2017.
It seems that this planned assault on Sarwan whereupon Gayle accuses him of being immature, proves to me just how puerile is Gayle’s behaviour in the circumstances.
The game of cricket has given the Universe Boss so much in life; wealth, popularity in the sports world, opportunities to travel to several cities around the globe, attractions that any youngster would love to experience. He has also been forgiven for his many transgressions over the years. The Jamaican was captain of the West Indies from 2007 to 2010.
Gayle should be honest with himself and examine his life as a professional cricketer for what it is. He had a brilliant career and gave pleasure to myriads of people across the world. That rage inside of him was expressed in his batting aggression, hooking, driving, pulling and swinging with a viciousness seldom seen in others.
His style was dismissive when he dispatched the ball coming at him, using his bat as a weapon to commit serious assault on that small red object.
Now, that rage is being used on those that are responsible for their franchise teams who no longer see the languid Gayle fitting into their plans. T20 cricket is basically for the young and energetic and it is to Gayle’s credit that he was good enough to last this long.
He ought to have bowed out gracefully. It is a pity he took that attitude.